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the reasons of the captivity, it is very observable how frequently the prophets dwell on this, as the great reason why the Jews were rejected from being the people of God; they disobeyed the voice of the Lord, and disregarded his prophets. And if we look at the true cause of the calamities which have since befallen the Jewish nation, the destruction of Jerusalem, their dispersion among all nations, and their being every where base, degraded, and insulted, we shall find a similar cause,they knew not in their day the things belonging to their peace, and rejected the words of Christ and his Apostles, till at length God's long-suffering and patience were exchanged for his righteous indignation and tremendous vengeance.
Such a history, with such an inspired account of the real cause of all their calamities, is pregnant with solemn admonition. Every Jew that we meet seems to proclaim in our ears, Take heed that you now attend, in this your day, to the word of God! While your privileges are continued, lay hold of them; while your day of trial is prolonged, be diligent; while you have opportunity, believe and obey to your eternal salvation!
The danger of neglecting divine truth will appear more clearly from considering, first, the excellence of the salvation proposed to us. We will, then, notice the sin and danger of disregarding it.
The message which christian ministers bring is weighty enough to call for all our attention. The glorious truth which they have to declare is nothing less than the highest evidence of divine love that we can imagine-God so loved the world, that he gave his onlybegotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Consider a little the greatness of the salvation pro
posed, that we may more adequately estimate the danger of neglecting it.
FROM WHAT A MISERY IT RESCUES US! All men are transgressors of the divine law. Creator, the King eternal, is justly offended with s He, who is truth itself, bas even declared that transgressors shall go away into everlasting punishment. prepared for the Devil and his angels. Consider, then,
our true state!
Look at the infinite holiness, the invioalmighty power, and the undeviating
lable truth, the justice of God! See how his righteous law condemns every human being! Who shall stand before him, when he is angry! If God is our enemy, every other being is armed against us, and we are defenceless in a world of enemies. Who could rescue man, and preserve God's honour and justice untarnished? It is the excellence of the blessed spirits above to prefer the divine glory to every thing else. Suppose then, as it has been observed, the holy angels, filled with love and pity to man, had set about planning his restoration. Upon the first discovery that it would clash and interfere with the glory of God, (as every contrivance of finite and limited wisdom would have done) they would instantly have cast it from them as an abominable thing, and have rested eternally in the contemplation of his excellencies." Let sinners be pardoned and saved, and what shall become of the justice and holiness, the power and veracity of God, all of which are engaged to see a meet récompense of reward rendered to every transgression? To be under the vengeance of divine justice, the terror of Almighty wrath, the sentence of eternal punishment, and all so justly merited, that every mouth shall be stopped! only consider your real condition, your tremen
lous danger; and then you will see the greatness of chat salvation by which you may be rescued from it.
IN WHAT A MARVELLOUS WAY IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED! It occupied the council and purpose of God himself before the world began. Eph. i, 4; 2 Tim. i, 9. It was foretold of God, and expected by prophets and righteous men for four thousand years. It was announced by angels from heaven. The only Son of God, the brightness of his father's glory, and the express image of his person, adopts the astounding humiliation of taking upon him our nature, and that in its lowest form. He appeared as a little child; he grew up on our earth; he lived as a man of sorrow; and at length shed his most precious blood, dying the painful and accursed death of the cross, and all to accomplish this salvation. The Holy Spirit concurs in carrying on the glorious purpose, conveying and applying to each individual the mighty blessing. When the sacred writers speak of this salvation, they describe it as being great and marvellous, the wisdom of God, his manifold wisdom, and all the treasures of wisdom. The whole scheme, contrivance, and working out of this salvation, are of such stupendous grandeur, and so full of unspeakable interest to us, that in nothing does the inexpressible ignorance and darkness, folly and impiety of the human heart more appear, than in the neglect of it. A worm of a day treats with contempt that which God planned from all eternity, that which angels unceasingly contemplate with admiration, and that which will be the song of the redeemed through the everlasting ages of heavenly glory.
WHAT BLESSINGS ARE IMPARTED THROUGH IT, EVEN IN THIS WORLD! There is treasured up in Christ Jesus, the fountain head of this salvation, a
rich supply for all our wants. Through him we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, of regeneration, repentance, faith, and holiness. Then there is pardon and righ teousness, justification and peace with God, a hope fu of immortality, full of joy. This salvation shews us even here, God our Father, our Friend, and our Portion Christ our Redeemer, our Shepherd, and our Saviour the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier and our Comforter; the blessed angels our ministering attendants; Satan varquished, the world overcome, and the kingdom of herven opened to all believers. Consider how freely the blessings are bestowed-without the least tittle of deserving in man-by grace-not of works. Eph. ii, 8. Consider how extensively the blessings are proposedwhosoever will. Rev. xxii. Consider how fully it meets all our wants, removes our guilt, helps us in our weak. ness, and provides for our natural ignorance divine wisdom, and for our many sorrows those joys which are heavenly, and never pass away. If we connect all this with our desert of eternal wrath, surely we must see the supreme magnitude of this salvation!
And TO WHAT A HEIGHT OF GLORY DOES IT ULTIMATELY ADVANCE US! If even here in this world, surrounded with sin and sorrow, with darkness and misery, we can, through the mercy of God, discover some rays of the glory and greatness of this salvation, what will it be when we come to its full enjoyment in the realms above? It is called an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. O Christian reader! when we hear Christ sentence the wicked to eternal wrath, when we see them sink into everlasting ruin; when we view the righteous about to enter the mansions of bliss; when, if his wonderous mercy has saved us, we ourselves join that blessed company, rise to that inconceivable glory,
and bask in the bliss of that Divine Being in whose presence is fulness of joy; then we shall better understand the unspeakable greatness of this salvation. It brings in its final result perfect felicity, of endless duration and unchangeable security. So inexpressibly great is it, that all comparisons fail, and there is nothing that can fully illustrate its infinite excellence. Thus the Scriptures describe it- God so loved the world—so great a salvation—Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Such expressions intimate that the greatness of this salvation is incomparable, and cannot be fully described or adequately conceived.
We might naturally think that such a salvation as der this had only to be proposed, in order to be joyfully, elini gratefully, and universally received; but, alas! we need only look into the world, or even into our own hearts, to see the necessity of that question, Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord les revealed?
It may be necessary here, first, to establish the conOviction of this neglect; and then to shew the danger of it.
We fear, then, it is too true, that a great proportion of those who hear the truth, do practically neglect it. We enter not into the case of the openly wicked, of those who are living in adultery, fornication, wrath, malice, contention, and altogether following the things wher of the world. It will be obvious enough that they not only neglect the salvation of the Gospel, but even the plain and common obligations of a decent morality. Nor need we consider the case of those who oppose and persecute the followers of the Gospel, either publicly or